tv First Look MSNBC July 15, 2019 1:00am-2:00am PDT
grow. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline extra." thanks for watching. president trump appears to be doubling down after telling a group of progressive democratic congresswomen to go back to where they came from. house speaker nancy pelosi is coming to lawmakers' defense while republicans remain largely silent. the trump administration launches immigration raids but they are off to a slow start. one u.s. official tells nbc news that only a handful of arrests have taken place. and tropical storm barry gets downgraded to a tropical depression but it still poses a threat with possible flooding
and tornadoes. good monday morning, everybody, it is july 15th, i'm yasmin vossoughian alongside nbc white house correspondent jeff bgeoff bennett. at this point, back in the 2012 cycle, the nbc "wall street journal" poll found the president's approval rating at 45% within the range of other polls this year. his disapproval rating stands at 22%. in july of 2011, president obama had a higher rating with a lower disapproval rating. trump loses handily to joe biden by 9 points, 51-42. senator bernie sanders bests trump by 7, 50% to 43 while senator kamala harris has a one
point edge over the president. also in the july 2011 nbc "wall street journal" poll, president obama was leading republican mitt romney by 7 points, 48-41. president trump's much discussed mass deportation raids were set to place yesterday. after garnered headlines, those large scale operations failed to materialize. "the new york times" report that a handful of arrests appeared to take place and reported in only a few cities, much different than the nationwide show of force that had been originally planned. the plans for the operation were changed at the last minute because of news reports that had tipped off immigrant communities about what to expect. that's according to several current and former dhs officials familiar with the matter. the "wall street journal" reports that i.c.e. agents attempted raids in at least two neighborhoods in new york city on saturday but the agents were rejected by people at the residences because they didn't have warrants.
those agents did not have warrants, and new york city officials said sunday there was no indication that those agents had returned. little other enforcement activity has emerged, although officials say raids will continue this week. in iowa yesterday, democratic presidential candidate senator amy klobuchar said it's all spin. take a look. >> if he wanted to really try to deport people that were security risks, maybe he shouldn't have told them a week ago. all right. why does he do this? he does this because he wants to create wedges. he wants to make sure that he can create maximum chaos, that everyone is talking about what he is doing instead of what we need to do to move america forward. >> so ahead of the promised nationwide enforcement targeting immigrant communities, places of worship fearing deportation this week. reporting dozens of churches in houston, and in los angeles
offered sanctuary to anyone afraid of being arrested. while in miami activists handed out fliers to help immigrants know their rights. however, a chicago church run by vocal immigrants rights advocates told the ap of a big drop in attendance this past sunday. so in a series of tweets yesterday, president trump said that a group of progressive congresswomen critical of his immigration policies should go back to the countries they originally came from. so here's the tweet, so interesting to see progressive democrat congresswomen who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt, and anywhere in the world if they have a functioning government at all now loudly and viciously telling the people of the united states, the greatest and most powerful nation on earth, how our government is to be run.
why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came, then come back and show us how it is done. these places need your help badly. they can't leave fast enough. i'm sure nancy pelosi would be happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements. though the president didn't mention anyone by name, the four apparent targets are alexandria ocasio-cortez who was born in the bronx, thand congresswoman ilhan omar of minnesota who was born in somalia but moved to the u.s. when she was 12 and she was a naturalized citizen when she was 17. >> a lot of people came out in defense of the four congresswomen yesterday. house speaker nancy pelosi being one of them. here's what she tweeted. when president trump tells four american congresswomen to go back to their countries, he
reaffirms his plan to make america white again. our diversity is our strength, our unity is our power. she goes on to say this, i reject president trump's xenophobic comments, rather than attack members of congress, he should work with us for humane immigration policy that reflects american policies. stop the raids families belong together. the president's tweets were condemned by several presidential candidates. republicans remain, though, largely silent on this matter. president trump later appeared to double down on his tweet. he said this, so sad to see the democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our country and who in addition hate israel with a true and unbridled passion whenever confronted. they call their adversaries, including nancy pelosi racist, the many terrible things they say about the united states must not be allowed to go unchallenged. if the democratic party wants to
condone disgraceful behavior, we look more forward to seeing you at the ballot box in 2020. so a lot of controversy vounldivounl surrounding the back and forth tweets. >> the early morning news letter, power up, jackie, good morning, thanks for joining us on this. >> thanks for having me. >> there was a lot of talk about the political dynamics at play here. there's been some distance between nancy pelosi and freshman democrats as we know now. now president trump is jumping into the mix with the latest tweet. talk us through sort of this back and forth. >> yeah, so, you know, there was a week of infights between nancy pelosi. it was long simmering tensions and it was the focus of the media and it was something that, you know, congressional republicans were reveling in, but president trump really misread the room here, and seemed to be thinking that he
could sort of hop in and further fracture these divisions that really came to a head and boiled over into the public sphere on twitter over the weekend by -- through his really race baiting tweets and it quickly backlashed. and, you know, i think the president would like for the conversation to be that nancy pelosi had levelled, you know, unfair attacks on her house freshmen but i think the attacks were transparent, and people saw them for what they were as part of a well established pattern of the president targeting immigrants and minorities and people of color in a way that has been consistently pretty racially charged. >> on the beginning of the heels of these i.c.e. raids, all of this takes place. >> and donald trump has a
history of racist controversies. what makes this time different is the conspicuous silence from republicans. back in 2017, when he said judge curiel could not be unbiassed because of his mexican heritage. paul ryan and other republicans called donald trump out on that. this time, where are the republicans? >> that is a great question. you actually had the canadian born senator ted cruz last night tweeting a criticism of beto o'rourke for betraying american values pointing to his parents' heritage as being immigrants who worked hard to make it in america. but there was no criticism to be seen of the president from senator ted cruz, and that goes for really the rest of the party. i mean, there was one texas representative who, you know, levelled sort of a half apology, a half criticism at president trump and said that, you know, his rhetoric towards immigrants
was unfair, but then followed up with but i still believe that the democrats who are in favor of keeping undocumented immigrants in the united states should be voted out in 2020. and that was really the lone voice. everyone else who has previously criticized the president in 2016, at least when he -- when his rhetoric was also similarly racially charged, they're either out of office, they have resigned. >> as we march closer and closer to 2020, more and more of this type of thing is going to happen. they're going to be worried about their own reelection bid sdl this . >> this is a calculated part of his 2020 election. >> we'll talk to you in just a bit. top 2020 democratic candidates continue to clash over the future of america's health care system. over the weekend, former vp joe biden took a swipe at his
competition for running on the idea of medicare for all. >> do you think the democrats can win the white house in 2020 advocating for medicaid for all? >> look, i'm not going to -- the answer is i think that the american people are looking for is something that gives them surety and concern immediately. people have urgent needs now. now. not in a week, not in a month, not in two years, not in three years, now. so every suingle minute matters. bernie has been very honest about it. he's going to have to raise taxes in the middle class, end all private insurance. he's straightforward about it. he's making his case. so far not. so far not. >> meantime, senator bernie sanders pushed back on biden's claims in an e-mail to supporters, including biden of stirring up misinformation about his campaign. sanders writes quote it is preposterous as we expand
medicaid for all that people with cancer and other illnesses will not get the care they need adding that under his plan americans would not have to face bankruptcy over serious medical conditions. still ahead, bob mueller's upcoming congressional testimony gets delayed. we have details about the agreement between the former special counsel and house democrats. intense rainfall swamps louisiana as tropical depression barry moved inland. meteorologist bill karins will have a full check on the forecast coming up next. ing up . these folks don't have time to go to the post office
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welcome back, former special counsel's bob mueller's testimony has been postponed by one week. the new arrangement reached between mueller and house democrats extends the time he'll face judiciary committee questioning in just three hours, allowing more of its 41 members time to actually speak. politico reports that under the original arrangement, half of
the committee's members would have been excluded. however, it is unclear if mueller's appearance before the intelligence committee will be extended, while the arrangement eases earlier frustrations as politico points out the july 24st hearing puts the testimony one day before congress begins the month long summer recess, leaving advocates little time to seize on momentum before lawmakers scatter to their districts. a separate closed door session have been cancelled according to multiple lawmakers. embattled secretary of labor alex acosta is resigning over widespread criticism over a decades old plea deal with jeffrey epstein. acosta appeared with president trump on the white house south lawn and told reporters he was resigning because he didn't want the epstein situation to become an even bigger distraction. trump praised his labor secretary and said that the decision to step down was all acosta's. >> i have seen coverage of this
tape that is over 12 years old that has input and vetting at multiple levels at the department of justice, and as i look forward, i do not think it is right and fair for this administration's labor department to have epstein as the focus, rather than the incredible economy that we have today. and so i called the president this morning, i told him that i thought the right thing was to step aside. >> i watched alex yesterday, i thought alex did a great job. i just want to tell you, this is a person that i have gotten to know, there hasn't been an ounce of controversy at the department of labor until this came up. and he's doing this not for himself. he's doing this for the administration. and alex, i think you'll agree, i said you don't have to do this. he doesn't have to do this. >> acosta's resignation becomes effective on friday. reclassified from a tropical storm to a tropical depression.
barry slowly swept through louisiana and into arkansas yesterday producing thunderstorms, tor republicaren and widespread flooding. maximum sustained winds were at 35 miles per hour, and warned of possible flooding in louisiana, northward through the lower mississippi valley. the hurricane center also said tornadoes were possible across portions of southeastern louisiana and mississippi, western alabama, eastern arkansas, and western tennessee as well. so let's get an update now on your weather with nbc meteorologist bill karins. hey, bill. >> good monday morning, overall with this storm, so far so good, i mean, we went into the weekend very concerned with what could have been historic rainfall. the timing of the forecast, where the storm was going was excellent by the hurricane center, perfect. what was not good was the predictions we had for how much rain was going to fall. our computer models was saying this was going to be a possible to major historic rainfall.
we got half of the rain we thought we were going to get. a lot of less damage than expected. the storm is moving into areas of arkansas. overnight, this band of heavy rain and thunderstorms north of lake charles has produced up to a foot of rain. there was a flash flood emergency for the areas north of st. charles. we'll see what kind of damage that did, a foot of rain in any area of the country can do significant damage. we haven't heard of loss of life or anything like that. the rainfall is widespread, all the way back up through memphis, little rock, and could possibly, elevated areas in northern arkansas, when you start getting heavy rain in the hill country, you get small streams and quick flooding. there's the flash flood warnings that continue with the heavy band north of lake charles through the central portions of louisiana, and there's a view of those thunderstorms. lake charles here, and you can see the thunderstorms roll in through the area. as far as today goes, if you're going to get flash flooding, the
moderate risk, the maroon color from alexandria to lake charles. the area is soaked and 3 inches and an isolated 5 inches. we're almost done with the storm. another 24 hours of heavy rain here and there. we'll be finished with barry. >> can i quickly ask, because this hurricane was so early because i'm assuming that this was early, is this a predictor of what is to come for this hurricane season? >> zero. >>. no. i mean it's july. typically the season is not until september. we average the first hurricane typically the first week of august. we're a couple of weeks early. nothing that you're like, wow, what's going on. this was kind of a wake up call, i guess, maybe. everyone should be prepared. >> get ready. thank you, bill. one day after simona halep denied serena williams a 24th grand slam title, novak djokovic outlasted roger federer to repeat as champion at the all england club following a nearly
five hour final. the longest in wimbledon history. djokovic saved two match points to reach the fifth set tie breaker, becoming the first man in 71 years to take home the trophy. the win is good for the 16th career grand slam moving him to within four of federer's record 20, rafael nadal is second on the list with 18. >> that was an incredible match to watch, five hours. can you imagine how exhausted that they be, and to quickly touch on williams hall ep match up. she played an unbelievable game. she had i believe three unforced errors, the entire match which is unbelievable. you know, normally you see about 15, 16 unforced errors in a really amazing match up. she had three. it was close to perfect. >> i did not know you were a tennis fan. >> big tennis fan. yeah.
board is calling on governor cuomo for removing de blasio as mayor writing bill de blasio does not care about new york city. he does not care how it runs, about you or your taxes, creating taxes or improving lives. all bill de blasio cares about is bill de blasio. 72,000 customers were left in the dark on the west side of manhattan just before 7:00 on saturday night. knocking out times square, its bright lights trapping people inside of subway cars and elevators and sending theater goers evacuating into the street. the blackout that darkened 40 blocks, power was restored to everyone just after midnight a few hours later. de blasio flew back from iowa sunday and defended his absence saying he was confident in the team that he had in place in new york. he will have more information on this as mayor bill de blasio joins "morning joe" later this morning. the most amazing video of the day, let's go to france,
shall we. yesterday french invent inventoa holding a rifle showing the fly board's potential future military use. he claims the fly board which he originally developed to fly above water can run for ten minutes and reach speeds of 118 miles an hour, and if you're really really brave, that's how you would do it. now he's planning to use this to cross the english channel. >> wow. >> one wonders if we'll see that at next year's july 4th trump parade. >> there you go, that's an idea. coming up, vice president mike pence gets a firsthand look at the immigration crisis, what he's saying about the conditions inside border facilities. president trump launches a new attack on former house speaker paul ryan, we're going to have those new comments ahead. we're back in a moment. e new cos ahead. we're back in a moment
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welcome back, everybody. i'm yasmin vossoughian alongside nbc news white house correspondent geoff bennett. it is the bottom of the hour. let's start with the morning's top stories. vice president mike pence is calling the crisis at the southern border quote tough stuff after visiting migrant detention centers in texas. pence made the trip to the facilities in mcallen and donna on friday with republican senators in an effort to defend the trump administration's handling of the migrant crisis following reports of inhumane conditions at the facilities. according to "the washington
post," when reporters toured the mcallen facility before the vice president, the men being detained screamed that they had been held there for 40 days or longer in some cases. they said they were hungry, and they wanted to brush their teeth. the post says it was sweltering hot but the only water was outside the fences and the men needed to ask permission from the border patrol agents to actually take a drink. now, during his stop at that facility, a little bit later, the vice president witnessed hundreds of men crammed behind caged fences or packed in cells h. he spoke with reporters after the tour, describing what he witnessed. watch this. >> did you talk to any of the adult migrants, you talked to children and mothers, did you talk to the adult migrants? >> i did. >> and what did they tell you? i asked them about their care. >> here, i'm talking about here. they said they were taken care of. >> i didn't have the opportunity
to speak directly given the nature of this facility. >> okay. >> but we all saw, this facility is overcrowded. i was told by the secretary, the president's been told by the secretary, it's overwhelmed, and we want the american people to know that. now, the level of care, this facility is clean and people are being provided with sustenance and shelter, hygiene, this is tough stuff. >> so following his visit to the border facility, pence criticized cnn for its reporting on the tour tweeting that the network is so dishonest. today we took reporters to a detention facility on the border for families and children and all told us they were being treated well. the crisis at our southern border is not a manufactured crisis. it is real. and it is overwhelming our system. to show this, we also visited an overcrowded facility for adult men, many of whom have been
arrested multiple times. democratic senator ed markey of massachusetts responded to the vice president tweeting this, shame on you. i was 4 miles away at another facility on the same day. no one is being dishonest. these border facilities are a national disgrace with human beings kept in conditions worse than prisons. children sleeping on floors. these facilities have become edifi edifices to hate. >> president trump is defending his administration's handling of the migrant crisis. the president tweeted yesterday friday's tour showed vividly to politicians and the media how well run and clean the children's detention centers are. great reviews, the president says. failing "new york times" story was fake. the adult single men areas were clean but crowded and loaded with a big percentage of criminals. there is nothing to back that up. president continues, sorry, can't let them into our country. if too crowded, tell them not to
come to the usa, and tell the dems to fix the loopholes president trump. trump criticize "the new york times" over its reporting at the conditions at the detention facilities. >> they're touring detention centers and that was my idea. i read a phoney story in the "new york times" today or the other day about the detention centers, about the conditions, and i had people calling me up at the highest level from border patrol and ice, almost crying about that phony story, and they never saw anything. they have phony sources, they don't have sources they write whatever they want. a man has been fatality shot by police after attacking an immigrant in washington. van swanson was armed with a rifle and was thrown incendiary devices at the tacoma detention center. officials say he caused a vehicle to catch fire and attempted to ignite a pro pane
tank and set buildings on fire. when officers arrived to the scene, police say they called out to him, and opened fire. it's unclear if he fired his weapon at well as the moment. a friend of the suspect says she believes he wanted to end his life. the shooting took place the same day vice president mike pence visited a migrant detention centers in texas, and just hours after a peaceful rally in front of the washington facility. so as we mentioned, president trump is not backing down following condemnation over his racist attack over a group of progressive democratic congresswomen of color. trump has implied lawmakers weren't born in the u.s., suggesting they go back to where they came from. hans nichols has more from the white house. >> reporter: president trump tried to stoke conflict between house speaker nancy pelosi and four minority liberal congresswomen tweeting go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from
which they came. mr. trump added so interesting to see progressive democrat congresswomen who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe. the president has singled out one of the women, ms. omar before, she's from somalia, the only one of the four congresswomen born outside of the united states. >> i'm looking at this omar from minnesota. she shouldn't even be in office. >> speaker pelosi denounced the tweets, as xenophobic comments. omar accused the president of stoking white nationalism because you are angry that people like us are serving in congress. other house democrats rally to go their colleague's defense. >> that's a racist tweet. >> in the field of 2020 democratic hopefuls piled on. >> what he's trying to do is make america hate again. >> he's doing something that's so anti-american. >> this country is facing another bigot trying to divide
us again. >> clear division exists between nancy pelosi and the democrats in office. the official twitter account for house democrats on friday night criticized congresswoman alexandria ocasio k-cortez's chf of staff, the tweet included a screen shot from last month when ocasio-cortez's chief of staff wrote in part, i don't believe cherise is a racist person but her votes are showing her to enable a racist system. vox reports a spokesperson for nancy pelosi declined to comment on her view from the account managed by congress hakeem jeffreys. michael hardaway confirmed to vox the tweet was sent intentionally but didn't explain the rationale behind it. ocasio-cortez's chief of staff
responded with a tweet of his own writing this, this tweet was in response to someone else's tweet where they specifically brought up representative davids. why did you leave that out? i have known representative davids for a long time, consider her a friend and encouraged her to run for congress in the fall in 2016. i'm glad that she remembers. meanwhile, congresswoman ocasio-cortez has pushed back against accusations she is playing the race card against pelosi. watch this. >> joining us from washington is author of the "washington pos post's" early morning news letter. giving democrats an opening to attack him for his tweets, for his racist rhetoric, and yet they're going back and forth over who tweeted what when, and what nancy pelosi said about whom when. help us understand what's going on here and whether republicans
are going to be able to use this to their benefit in this election year. >> that's exactly right. i think as long as the president continues to, you know, insert himself into this conversation rather than allow this infighting between democrats to continue, it's going to be difficult for republicans to capitalize on these tensions between the progressive flank and house leadership, which really spilled out into the open this week. you know, these differences on policy between progressives and the squad representatives, alexandria ocasio-cortez, ilhan omar, rashida tlaib, and ayanna pressley have, you know, been expoesze exposed since they took office. they came to a head on the humanitarian bill, border funding bill passed by congress two weeks ago which the four of them vehemently opposed. pelosi has also come under some criticism for singling out these
congresswomen repeatedly, which, you know, other democrats have accused pelosi of going tough on them. but the president provided the party with a temporary respite from this drama by taking it a step too far. and, you know, really pulling out the race card here. >> so since the election of some of these freshmen democratic congresswomen, we have seen a bit of a fractured democratic party to say the least. could these racist tweets from the president basically saying go back to where you came from, which is just unbelievable to even repeat when i say it out loud, could this finally be a situation where we see the democratic party coming together and getting on the same page. >> yeah, i think so. i mean, that's what we saw immediately happen on sunday, democrats galvanized in support of these four after a week of public, you know, twitter fighting. and i think that, you know, the
tweet was really a reckoning in the party that, you know, the party should be more preoccupied with the bigger goal of defeating donald trump, and was, you know, united by a, you know, by trump's what their described as trump's bigotry and hatefulness, and you know, this obviously extends to trump's policies beyond his rhetoric towards these congresswomen, you know, you had congress people also tweeting let's keep our eye on the goal here, you know, there are mass deportations and raids that are going into effect today by ice that the president is also overshadowing with his rhetoric right now. >> yeah, jackie, good insights. >> still ahead, everybody, president trump continues his attacks against the former speaker of the house. the president's new comments on
welcome back, let's get the latest on the remnants of tropical depression barry as the system makes its way inland with nbc meteorologist bill karins. >> overnight we did have a foot of rainfall in areas north of st. charles, louisiana, and a flash flood emergency at one point, and now at a flash flood warning. that's when this heavy band of rain, it's kinds of been stationary from areas west to east, from central louisiana. it's going to be a rainy day, and cool by this time, compared to how normally it is this time of year from little rock: minor flooding concerns in the area. let's take you through the week ahead and show you where the moisture is going to go, and how it's going to play out. hot, humid day in the southeast today. today by far the nicest day you're going to have in the mid atlantic through the northeast
because it is only going to get hotter day by day until they get to friday, the hottest day for many areas. huge storms until the northern plains. the rain from barry, little rock to memphis, st. louis is going to deal with wet weather. wednesday, a cold front is going to sweep down, we'll deal with thunderstorms from the ohio valley back down to the tennessee valley and notice we're hot in the southeast and humid, and the summer sizzle begins in the middle of the country and spreads to the east by the time we get to friday and will be a full fledged heat wave. areas of nebraska, aomaha, 101. areas like syracuse, so far this year, kansas city, your hottest day was 93. a forecast of 98 this week. sena cincinnati is going to be 96. detroit 96 by the time we get to friday. some of the cities in the northeast, washington, d.c., 96 this year. you should be 98. 97 in philadelphia friday, and new york city is looking at 95, guys.
this is typically if you look at when we are the hottest, the third week of july on average is the hottest week of the year. it's going to live up to its reputation. >> the summer sizzle continues, it's pretty hot. >> i mean, it's been -- >> but not like that. not those steps. >> if you want me to add to the graphic, i will. >> thank you, phil. get back to me on that one. president trump continues to slam former house speaker paul ryan after details of a new book reveals ryan's criticism of trump's first two years in office. watch this. >> the wall is being built. the wall is being built. we had a couple of very good decisions. we had one bad decision. it's very tough. again, paul ryan let us down. paul resiyan was a terrible speaker. frankly, he was a baby. he didn't know what the hell he was doing. the wall let us down. >> and paul ryan has not yet responded to trump's comments.
tim alberta joins "morning joe" to discuss her new book, american carnage. >> i cannot wait to read that book for a number of reasons. new details on the former british ambassador's sharp criticisms of president trump as more of his dip maltic cablloma are revealed. beto o'rourke reveals his ancestor slaves, the part of that he wants to address part of his ancestor history. s to addref his ancestor history so many great stories from amazing people. it makes me want to be better. to be able to connect with the people's stories that i'm listening to. that's inspiration. it's on during my commute, it's on all the time. doing the dishes. working out. while i'm in the car. at bed time. an audible listener is someone that wants to broaden their mind. people who are tired of listening to the radio, or music. to hear her speak those words. it was incredible. it was unbelievable. with audible originals, there's something for almost every taste in there.
everything you ever wanted to hear. i signed up for getting a credit every month, and i started exploring books that i normally wouldn't read. our ability to empathize through these stories, with these stories, can be transformational. it's my own thing that i can do for me. see what listening to audible can do for you. just text listen20 to 500500. see what listening to audible can do for you. xfinity mobile is a designed to save you money. whether you use your phone to get fit or to find the perfect gift, you'll use less data with a network that automatically connects to millions of wifi hotspots and the best lte everywhere else. so you save hundreds of dollars a year on your wireless bill. xfinity mobile has the best network. best devices. best value. simple. easy. awesome. click, call or visit a store today.
welcome back, a british newspaper has published more of the leaked diplomatic cables, which reveal former british ambassador sir kim darroch's blunt views of president trump and the administration, and one of them deals with president trump's controversial unilateral decision to withdraw the u.s. from the 2015 iran nuclear deal. according to the mail in a may 2018 memo, ambassador darroch said trump's decision was made to spite president obama, an act of vandalism seem fwingly for ideological rngs because the book was obama's deal. the ambassador alleged the administration had no strategy for what came after the withdrawal and quote no sort of plan for reaching out to partners and allies. that memo was written after then foreign secretary boris johnson who was now the front runner to become the next prime minister visited washington in a failed attempt to get trump to stay in the landmark agreement. democratic presidential
candidate beto o'rourke has added new urgency to a series of policy proposals designed to address the legacy of slavery after his ancestors slave owning past was revealed yesterday. the guardian reported o'rourke's history citing abundant documentation on the web site ancestry.com of o'rourke and his wife's slave owning ancestors and support of the confederacy. he said neither he or his wife knew about the ties to slavery. in a post on sunday, o'rourke who has voiced his support for reparations acknowledged the benefits his family has gotten from slavery and institutional racism which he says gives him the responsibility to change the country, and has several policy proposals to better deliver on that responsibility, writing in part, we all need to know our own story as it relates to the national story much as i am learning mine. it is only then that i believe we can take the necessary steps to repair the damage done and
stop visiting this unjustice on the generations that follow ours. the passage of the first step act was a rare bipartisan feat in congress that united some of the most liberal and conservative lawmakers with president trump to enact the biggest criminal justice reform since the tough on crime laws of the 1980s and the 1990s. presidential candidate cory booker is set to present new legislation this week that would give elderly prisoners a second chance. nbc's leann caldwell has more on this. >> hey, how you doing? >> how you doing? >> ebony underwood talks to her father on the phone every day, from 30 years inside prison walls he has still tried to be a father first. >> that's all i know. that's all i was ever taught, you know, children first and foremost. that's what i tried to emulate. >> william underwood, now 65 years old was sentenced to life
for prison without parole for a nonviolent drug related crime. it was his first felony but in the middle of a tough on crime era, the judge showed no leniency. with no hope of walking free again, underwood has made the best of his time in prison, mentoring others and staying devoting to his children and grandchildren as ebony fighting for his release. >> we all have made mistakes, people deserve second chances. >> reporter: a third circuit judge sent him a letter saying even though he's in prison, he's having a big impact on others. >> i was feeling hopeless. >> reporter: but then, a glimmer of hope. the first step act led to the release of thousands of nonviolent federal prisoners. underwood wasn't eligible, but matthew charles was, and he became the very first prisoner to be freed. now, he's pushing for the next step, a second chance for men and women sentenced to die in prison like underwood. >> some of the people that mentored you when you entered prison are still in prison. >> are still in prison with no
judicial recourse, and no expectancy except through the second chance look of ever getting out. >> then matthew met ebony. >> when i met her and the fact that i met so many people throughout my period of incarceration that had life sentences, my heart was like wow, because now i'm saying -- i don't want to call you a baby, but i'm seeing a baby or a child of somebody that has a life sentence for a nonviolent offense. >> reporter: that's where senator cory booker comes in, he met underwood in a new jersey federal prison. >> i asked the people that worked in the prison, should he be here, and people are like, absolutely not. >> reporter: under new legislation booker is proposing, those who have served more than ten years of their sentence like underwood can petition a judge for release. inmates over the age of 50 are given the presumption of release. a judge would have to show that the inmate is a danger to society, and should remain locked up. >> i hope this creates a much bigger pathway for people to be released to save taxpayer
dollars, to reunite families. >> reporter: as incarceration rates and the lengths of sentences have skyrocketed over the past three decades, so has the number of elderly prisoners. studies show as inmates age, the likelihood that they return to a life of crime in prison drops dramatically. >> the criminal justice system we have right now is a cancer on the soul of our country. >> reporter: the mood of the country on criminal justice has shifted since the days of the war on drugs. 12 senators voted against the first step act which had the support of kim kardashian and president trump. >> i am extremely hopeful for father's day, as you know, for us, father's day for my family is our hope for father's day is whatever day he comes home would be considered father's day for us. >> reporter: still booker has an up hill battle in passing the bill. >> if you are president and this legislation does not pass before then, would you offer clemency to someone like william underwood. >> hell yes, it should disturb
all of us that there are people like mr. underwood in prison. he would be one of the thousands of people that there's just no argument to make about why we're spending billions of dollars incarcerating them. >> and thank you to leann for that. coming up, the president's growing 2020 challenge. more on the poll numbers showing trump is facing head winds against potential democratic challengers, to win reelection. president trump digs in in the growing condemnation over four congresswomen of color, telling them they should go back to the countries they came from, which are the u.s. the latest on the fallout in the rest of the morning's top stories in less than three minutes. ors iein less than three minutes.